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October 05, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-10-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I

R E CO R D S

The Michigan Daily-Thursday, October 5, 1978-Page T

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Along the Red Ledge
Daryl Hall & John Oates
RCA AFL1-2804

By MARK DIGHTON
The casual music listener doesn't
usualy realize the importance of the
prodiction of an album in their reaction
towanids it. Yet the production job can
often completely change the sound of a
song. It can salvage a bad tune (as only
10 cc can do), or destroy a hit. But most
people register only a vague response
r the production - it's that subtle a
thing.
Daryl Hall and John Oates have con-
tinued on their path to a continually
denser, more produced sound'with their
ew album, Along the Red Ledge. This
yered sound both adds and detracts
rom their sound; it adds an interesting
ew level of complexity, but in places
comes excessive and drowns the cat-
ehiness ofthe tunes.
AN INTRICATE disco-oriented sound
is the perfect backing for their simple
pp songs and light R&B vocals. Unfor-
tunately,sit also falls prey to one of the
major drawbacks of disco - the
'rrelevant but ever-present string sec-
'in. Hall and Oates' heavy reliance on
strings to add color and depth signals a
lack of ideas. Strings make great filler,
but when used too often, as they are on
this record, they can be quite annoying.
The guitar playing is also a major
ptumbling block. Just like the strings, it
Is far too often only obligatory soun-
ding, and thus completely ignorable.
This is surprising, since Caleb Quaye,
e renowned session guitarist, plays
ead throughout the album; augmented
by such luminaries as Robert Fripp,
odd Rundgren, and Rick Nielson of
heap Trick. Yet only "Don't Blame It
Love" has a guitar solo worth
ning to. It actually sounds
WMITNEY SHOW
NEW YORK (AP)-An exhibit titled
'Abstract Expressionism: The
ormative Years" will be on display at
e Whitney;Museum of American Art
hrough Dec 3.,
The museim says, "Tpis is the first
arge-scale exhibition to focus on the
ioneering work of the 15 major artists
f the first generatioan New York
chool-William Baziotes, Willem de
'ooning, Arshile Gorky, Adolph
ottlieb, ians Hofmann, Lee Kranser,
obert Notherwll, Barnett Newman,
ackson Pollock, Richard Pousette-
art, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko,
rheodoros Stamos, Clyfford Still and
Bradley Walker Tomlin."

menacing instead of just plain insipid.
When Hall and Oates can escape from
the depth of this quagmire, their voices
bounce over the top of the arrangemen-
ts in perfect contrast. Too often,
however, the vocals are trapped within
the framework of the production and
the song grinds to an ignominious halt.
THIS IS A terrible thing to happen to
any singer, but it especially hurts Hall
and Oates because of their exceptional'
voices. Their voices have the same airy
but controlled quality of Todd Run-
dgren's, perhaps because they have all
been affected by the heavy R&B history
of their hometown, Philadelphia. On the
occasional daring vocal, the voice f
either Hall or Oates can ring out with an
almost startling clarity. This is
reassuring, since Rundgren seems to be
steadily losing his range after too many
years of singing falsetto. But the care
that has saved the voices of Hall and
Oates also robs their tunes of much
vitality.
Perhaps they seem distant from their
songs because there's frighteningly lit-
tle in them to get involved with. The
lyrics are predictable repetitions of
melancholy love themes, betraying the
amount of depth usually associated
with soap operas.
The first cut on the second side,
"Alley Katz" manages to break out of
the pattern, but falls into another rut
just as deep. It's a fine change of pace,.
but aside from that, the lyrics are
hopelessly inane:
Put on your feline finery/"Da Katz" are
meeting down below
If you feel tike rocking with a Tabby,
Tom, and Calico
It'll dirty up your pedigree/But we guar.
antee a good time
We got some catnip that'll set you free
Come on, come on, paws on the line.
THE ONLY DEPTH or vision on the
record is offered by Sara Allen in her
song "August Day." Unfortunately, the
arrangement all but destroys its
listenability. It is overblown to the point
that emotions cross over into
melodramatics.
There are many nice melodies on
Along the Red Edge, but they are far
too weak to carry one through an entire
song. As a result, many of the tunes
begin to drag before they are even two
minutes old. Hall and Oates simply
haven't yet learned to combine the
complex interweaving of melodies and
hooks that their colleague and com-
petitor, Todd Rundgren, pulls off so
easily.
Hall and Oates do many things well,
but nothing superbly, except sing, and
that's been toned down on this album.
Perhaps they unknowingly described
their own flaws in their own "Serious
Music": "Manuscripted memories/
Sound but no electricity."

Carnival
Maynard Ferguson
Columbia JC 35480

By BILL BARBOUR
It's sad to see a good jazz artist
metamorphose into a mediocre pop
artist. It doesn't bother me that the ar-
tist does this to make money; we all
need money to live. But this artist is
moving from an area in which he is
quite talented to an area in which he is
not nearly as talented. The artist is
Maynard Ferguson; his latest album is
M.F. Carnival. With the exception of
three tunes, the album is pop. With the
exception of three tunes, the album is
schlock.
The first side opens with "M. F. Car-
nival", the title track. It's a good tune
and, after listening'to it carefully, the
reasons why become clear: it is a good
arrangement, it has energy, it is
tastefully done, and, most important of
all, it is a jazz tune.
UNFORTUNATELY, the next two
numbers, "Fantasy" and "Theme from
Battlestar Galactica are pop and they
fail miserably. Once again, the reasons
are clear. Both of. the arrangements are
weak. They rely on a dull disco beat and
background vocals so much that even
diehard Ferguson fans will squirm.
Neither tune has any drive at all and
both demonstrate a complete lack of
taste.
Ferguson closes side one with a gem,
though. "Stella by Starlight" is the best
he has recorded in several years.
Because of the way it is written, it

shows off Ferguson's band to the fullest
extent. Trombonist Phil Gray excells
in the beginning ballad section, saxman
Mike Migliore blows a great solo in the
fast section that follows, and Ferguson
himself turns in a haunting high trum-
pet solo towards the end of the tune. It's
Ferguson and the band at their finest.
Maynard continues this high level of
performance in the opener of side two,
"Birdland." Nick Lane's arrangement
of this Joe Zawinul tune is a swinging,
hand-clapping romp. Ferguson turns in
some fine melodic solo work on trum-
pet, proving that he can play coherent
solos without having to use the trum-
pet's "screech" range.
After this tune, however, the album
bogs down in a rut from which it never
extricates itself. "Baker Street", is
milque-toast in comparison with Gerry
Rafferty's original. Bad background
vocals add insult to injury. "How Ya
Doin' Baby?", the next chart, is a con-
trived arrangement again plagued with
unnecessary vocals. "Over the Rain-
bow", the closer, fails in its attempt to
create excitement and succeeds in
making Ferguson sound foolish missing
high notes.
In the final analysis, it is Ferguson
and his arrangers who must take the
blame for all the schlock on this record.
They decided what the band was to per-
form. They decided to sacrifice quality
for a few extra fans in the youth
market. They made their bed and now
they must lie in it. Big band jazz fans
can only hope that they will find it too
uncomfortable and move on.
More people die by accidentally
choking on food than are killed by guns,
airplane accidents, snake bites, light-
ning or electrical shock, according to
the American Council of Life Insuran-
ce.

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The University of Michigan Professional Theatre Program
OPENS TOMORROWI
SALLY ANN.HOWES
EARL WRIGTSON & LOIS HUNT
inA
Music BY RICHARDRODGERS
% 4RICS BY OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
eooK04^ HOWARD LINDSAY AND RUSSEL CROUSE
4.4f TRAPPFAMLVS4N0GERS BY MARIA TRAPP
" «os TERRY SMD1WERS
OCT. 6-8 in the POWER CENTE
Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 and 8:00 p m. P.T.P. Ticket Office Hours:
10 a.m.-1 p.m.,and 2-5 p.m., weekdays, in the Michigan League. Tickets also available at
all J.L. Hudson outlets. For Further Information call 764-0450.

GET STYLED
by a Pro
UM Stylists
at the UNION
Harold, Dave
&~ Chet

i

I

VISTA
is coming,
alive again.
Hoaw about
coming
alive
with us?
Here's your chance to
do something for America.
We need all kinds of VISTA
volunteers. All kinds of skills.
People eighteen or eighty, we
don't care. High income or low
income. We don't care as long
as you come. Come to VISTA
for the most important experi-
ence of your life. VISTA needs
you. VISTA is coming alive
again. Call toll free:
800-424-8580. VISTA

t

Medlatrics presents
THE LOVED ONE
THURS. OCT. 5 at 78 9 p.m.
Evelyn Waugh's satire on the mores and morals of Hollywood
and the funeral business is scripted for an outrageous ribald
treatment directed with exhuberant high jinx by Richardson
Liberace, JONATHON WINTERS, ROD STEIGER and the other
stars play their characters with appropriate exaggeration.
The ASSEMBLY ROOM in the Union $1.50 k
GOOD-BYE GIRL
FRI. OCT. 6 at 7 8 9 p.m.
Neil Simon's the GOOD-BYE GIRL is about laughing and falling
in love again ... about the warmth we all want more of, the
bloooers we all pull and the happiness of just hanging in
there. RICHARD DREYFUSS and MARSHA MASON are excellent '
in this heartwarming movie.
NAT. SCI. AUD. $1.50
LADY SINGS THE BLUES
SAT. OCT. 7 at87& 9:30 p.m.
Based on Billie Holiday's autobiography. Diana Ross becomes
Billie in the most amazing way. Even the feeling in her voice
is Billie's.
NAT. SC. AUD. $1.50

a U

(MANN THEATRES
MAPLE VILAGE SHOPPING CENTR

WED. MATINEES
ALL SEATS $1.50
UNTIL 4:30

SHOWTIMES
SUN-WED-SAT
1:15 3:45
6:45 9:20
Mon-Tues-Thurs-Sat
6:45
9:20

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